Incentive Travel Spending On Rebound
By Joern Lucht
Monday, 15 August 2011

Incentive Marketing Association

After a two-year long pullback, many companies plan to renew incentive travel benefits and rewards for employees, channel partners, and customers, having rediscovered that travel incentives are directly linked to employee performance and customer loyalty.

Those are the findings of a new white paper, “Incentive Travel Recovering from Belly-flop,” published by the Incentive Travel Council (ITC) of the Incentive Marketing Association.

The report quotes a recent Society of Travel Executives survey, in which more than 80 percent of companies surveyed said they plan to incorporate motivational travel in the next one to three years, and many of the same companies report a current, real-time return to travel incentives.

“It’s a perfect time for corporations to get back to the grassroots value of incentives, particularly travel,” said Carol Wain, ITC president.

“Short, mid- or long-term, it’s a proven and psychological fact that employees, channel partners, and customers respond better to the carrot; not the stick.”

“It’s unfortunate that those organizations that abandoned these investments had to learn the hard way that the people involved and participating in their overall mission are living, breathing assets that want, need and deserve to be motivated, recognized, and rewarded.”

The report examines how two companies – DriveSavers of Novata, California and SFN Group of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – retained their incentive travel programs in difficult economic times, managed their programs creatively, and realized effective and measurable results.

“The fact is that, right now – with the economy still in recovery – it is going to take a creative approach to solve issues and achieve department objectives,” Wain said.

“Businesses have now seen the connection with lower profit, higher churn, lost opportunities and reduced productivity with their decision to reduce or cancel their incentive and recognition programs, and the smarter ones retained their programs or are now getting back on board with them.”

The report “Incentive Travel Recovering from Belly-flop” is available for download.

Download (PDF, 301KB)